History does not play or win games, but it accompanies and pushes when it is favorable to you. Atlético has won 10 league titles in its 118 years of life and the last four have been won in direct competition with Barcelona. Hand to hand. Match by match. It is not a bad balance for the rojiblancos, who also have two other precedents of geographical proximity. In the 1965-66 and 1969-70 leagues, on the last day, they beat Espanyol in Sarriá (0-2) and Sabadell in Nova Creu Alta (0-2).
However, the same has not happened to him when the direct rival in the fight for the title has been Real Madrid. So the rojiblancos have competed worse and have almost never kept up. Only in one of his ten leagues, 65-66, did he win over his eternal rival. From the 75-76 course there has not been a heads-up between rojiblancos and whites. And then, even, Barcelona was in the middle and on the last day they slipped second between the two Madrid teams.
Last athletic title with Diego Simeone already on the bench. The rojiblancos add 90 points, for the 87 of Barcelona. And they break the duopoly Real Madrid – Barcelona: they had won the nine previous leagues, three by whites, six by Barça. In the last day, a draw at the Camp Nou was enough for him and he got it with Godín’s goal, which replicated Alexis’s. Had they won, the Catalans would have been proclaimed champions due to the particular goal difference. They had tied at the Calderón in the first round.
The championship had three teams fighting for the title until the penultimate round, in which Real Madrid ran out of options after losing in Vigo to Celta (2-0). Tata Martino’s Barça was the leader in 20 of the first 21 days. Real Madrid took their relief from 25 to 28. But the strongest in the end was Atlético, who did not lose first place in the last ten. He had already been proclaimed champion in the previous game, but did not go beyond the draw against Malaga at their stadium (1-1). Messi’s men also failed in Elche (0-0).
Red-and-white double. The Cup final was also won by Barcelona with a goal from Pantic in Zaragoza. It was the League of 22 clubs with 42 games. Atlético de Antic –87 points, 80 for Barça– led all but three matchdays and secured the title by winning at the Camp Nou (1-3) on date 37. They left there with a six-point advantage. Barça was second in 24 days and lost their title options in 40 when they tied with Espanyol. That result cost Johan Cruyff his job and Rexach sat on the bench in the last two games. In the midst of the Barça crisis – he finished third at seven points – Valencia led by Luis Aragonés took the opportunity to be runner-up. Real Madrid, sixth, finished 17 points behind the champion. The author of the final goal, on the last day and against Albacete, was Simeone.
League with 18 teams and two points for victory: the Atléticos added 46, the Barça players 45. Luis Aragonés and Rinus Michels, the coaches. The first section of the season was dominated by Barça, who lost their leadership on matchday 21. In that period, the rojiblanco coach came to resign. The results did not end with the team, but the president, Vicente Calderón, did not accept it. On date 22 the rojiblancos climbed in first place and they no longer lost it. Champions were proclaimed on the penultimate day, at the Bernabéu –Real Madrid finished ninth– and on the day of San Isidro, taking advantage of the fact that Barcelona did not pass the draw in Elche.
The most remembered image of that derby was that of Luiz Pereira, Atlético’s Brazilian central defender, leaning on the post of one of the Bernabéu’s goals, draining a can of beer that had been thrown at him from the stands. No less than 44 years later he remembers it perfectly. “It was to celebrate. Winning a league at the home of our direct rival had double value for us. It had never happened. We were going around the field and several cans fell on me, I grabbed one that had liquid in it and drank it. I was going to do?”.
The title – 48 points for the champion, 46 for Barcelona – was decided at the Vicente Calderón on the last day of the League. The rojiblancos, with a point advantage, depended on themselves and beat Deportivo (3-1) with goals from Luis, Adelardo and Gárate. Barça played at home against Zaragoza (1-1). Austrian Max Merkel was the rojiblanco coach; Michels, in his first stage, the azulgrana. The march of the Championship heralded the triumph of the Catalan team, which was a solid leader for 24 days. But, Atlético took over in the 30th and remained in the last five.